10 Facts about Tsunamis

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Tsunamis are one of the most devastating natural disasters in the world. It doesn’t make any warning when to occur but whenever there is an earthquake, people who live near the coast already knew they would run for safety soon. Whether you like it or not, tsunamis can occur any time and here are the top 10 most interesting facts about it that you should know.

Fact 1: Tsunamis are huge waves forming at least 100 feet up, which can only occur in the open sea. People living in beach areas with small seas and surrounding islands need not worry about tsunamis.

Fact 2: Areas near the coastline of U.S., Hawaii, Washington, and California are said to be very prone to Tsunamis. However, 80% of the biggest tsunamis that had occurred in the past years were recorded in Southeast Asia, also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Fact 3: A tsunami can reach 160 miles from its origin with a speed of 500 miles or 805 km/h. It is almost as fast as a jet plane that it is too difficult to escape it.

Fact 4: The word’s biggest tsunami occurred in the night of July 1958 at Alaska Panhandle with a height as tall as 3000 feet, covering 40 million cubic yards. But the most unexpected and unforgettable tsunamis with massive destruction occurred in the 20th century. First was the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 after an earthquake in the Indian Ocean, and second was the tsunami that almost washed out the south boarders of Japan in 2011.

Fact 4: Not all tsunamis are huge and destructive. There are small tsunamis that occur time after time but are left unnoticed. The smallest tsunami recorded was a 9-inch wave at the capital of Port Vila which occurred after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in August 2010.

Fact 5: Tsunamis usually happen with earthquake aftershocks but some tsunamis occur independently due to underwater land formations, tectonic movements, or surprising eruption of inactive underwater volcanoes.

Fact 6:  A tsunami-like effect that occurs during a storm, which many people have mistaken as a tsunami when sea level rises and produces huge waves is known as storm surge. Unlike tsunamis, storm surges are brought by hurricanes. The latest known storm surge occurred in the Southeast Asia together with Hurricane Haiyan.

Fact 7: Tsunamis also occur in inland waters, also known as seiches. Seiches are commonly caused by winds. They are less harmful and destructive, and are relatively small compared to open sea tsunamis.

Fact 8: Tsunamis may be predicted using a tsunami warning system. Among the three major oceans, only the Pacific Ocean has installed an integrated a multinational tsunami warning system. It sends a signal on the screens of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration if a tsunami is coming. However, occurring tsunamis can only be detected some couple of minutes before its occurrence. Only then it would still be too late to pack up and run.

Fact 9: Tsunamis are extremely destructive that they killed nearly 500, 000 people in the Pacific Region alone over the last 2, 000 years. In Indian Ocean, reported death tolled 280, 000, most of which are children and women. According to World Bank, it would take 5 years and cost as much as $232 billion to rebuild a city that is struck by a tsunami.

Fact 10:The best way to survive a tsunami is to climb in higher areas. Swimming, running through the road, and driving a car pays very little chance of surviving. In Sendai Japan, the government has decided to build massive walls around its coastline to block future tsunamis.

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